Tiffany O’Donnell announces bid for mayor of Cedar Rapids

Tiffany O’Donnell is a former news anchor and current CEO of Women Lead Change. She is running for Cedar Rapids mayor. — courtesy of Tiffany O’Donnell for Mayor Facebook page

Tiffany O’Donnell kicked off her campaign for Cedar Rapids mayor on Tuesday.

O’Donnell, CEO of Women Lead Change and a former news anchor, made the official announcement on her campaign’s Facebook page. She filed a statement of organization with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board on March 11.

“I’m running for mayor because I believe I have the energy, the leadership and the vision to bring our city to the next level,” O’Donnell said in her live announcement video. “I’m committed to doing what it takes to provide a swift recovery from the human and economic toll of COVID and derecho. I’m committed to providing opportunity for our citizens in the form of stable, good paying jobs while supporting and growing the existing businesses we’ve been lucky enough to call Cedar Rapids home all while, by the way, recruiting new talent and new business.”

“We are at a crossroads in our great city. When things are great, it’s easy to look past the problems that we may have. When they’re bad, it’s all exposed, and COVID and derecho certainly exposed some real gaps, especially leadership.”

On her campaign website, O’Donnell has outlined three priorities she would focus on if elected:

• Encourage a swift recovery from the effects of COVID-19 and the derecho

• Develop an educated, diverse workforce and ignite economic development

• Create a safe, welcoming and fun environment that fosters pride and community in our great city

O’Donnell grew up in Bettendorf and has lived in Cedar Rapids for the last 20 years. She worked as a news anchor at KGAN/KFXA for 15 years. She joined Women Lead Change in 2015 and became the organization’s CEO in 2017.

O’Donnell served on the capital fundraising campaign for NewBo City Market and was the vice-chair of the Market’s Board of Directors. She has been involved in a number of community organizations, including Kids First Law Center, Alzheimer’s Association of East Center Iowa, Revival Theatre Company and the Iowa Children’s Museum.

She is part of the steering committee for ConnectCR, a community group working to bring new recreational opportunities to Cedar Rapids by revitalizing Cedar Lake and the Cedar River.

During Tuesday’s announcement, O’Donnell said she wants to focus on “the heart of our city,” which she considers to be the river. She emphasized the importance of riverfront development and said the “life and opportunity it would bring to our city is a game-changer.”

O’Donnell is also the co-chair of the statewide public/private EPIC Corporate Challenge, serving with Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is the honorary chair. The goal of the Challenge is to have Iowa companies measure their progress in advancing women leaders.

“This is a people-first, people-powered campaign, and I have big vision for our city,” O’Donnell said. “It’s way too big for one person. It’s going to require us to tackle multiple challenges at one time, and it’s going to require us to do it as a community, to do it together.”

O’Donnell is challenging Mayor Brad Hart, who announced his bid for reelection earlier this year. Businesswoman and community leader Amara Andrews is scheduled to make an official announcement about her candidacy on Thursday at 5 p.m. at NewBo City Market and on her campaign’s Facebook page.

The mayoral election will take place in November.

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